Tag Archives: health

Healthy Mindset Challenge

Our mental perspective can make all the difference in how successful we are in life. We could all work harder and we could all use a little more self-love.

Here is the challenge: no scale, no mirror for 1 week. Identify other sources that contribute to your own perception of “image” and remove those from your life for one week. These things include Facebook, magazines, TV shows etc.

There are two elements that will replace what you are removing in your life: hard-work and self-love.

1. Hard work– give this week all you have. Use the time that you would usually use to say “I wish I was,” or “I am not” in a productive way. Listen to your body, listen to your heart and listen to your mind. Push hard in your workouts, go for a clean diet (use a food journal if need be) and make some time to set some goals. This is your week, don’t hold back!

2. Self-love– give yourself a compliment when you wake up, at lunch and after dinner. Give yourself a hug after a good workout. Post notes in your calendar or notebook to remind yourself about your strong qualities. Before you go to bed at night, think about 3 things that you are grateful for that day. Take time to give yourself love instead of being hard on yourself. This approach is way more enjoyable and productive.

At the end of the week, reflect to see what it felt like to work harder and to give yourself some love.  See what it does to your perception of other people.

Wishing you a week filled with love, health & happiness.

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Another Year of Growth

This past year has been a year of exceptional growth in my life. For the first time, I have not been bound by the walls of a classroom or a school calendar. This time last year, it was time for me to get my feet wet in “the real life.” In the past year I have gotten to know myself better than ever before. I have fully immersed myself in many aspects of life that had only been a mere thought or desire up until now. The most important lesson that I have learned is that health and happiness are integral with one another and are interwoven with many other factors.

In the middle of May, I started my journey with Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a training course for Health Consultants. The main principle in this program is that we have primary foods in life which are different to ordinary foods. Primary foods are healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career, a spiritual practice. It is not only about the foods that we eat. If you are not happy then your health is going to take a toll. If you are too obsessed with nutrition or fitness, it is going to distract you from other aspects in your life that are also vital to your well-being. Each person is unique when it comes to health, we all require different balances. So too with nutrition, what works for one person very likely could be unhealthy for another person.

While we are all bio-diverse (each of us has our own needs) there are some truths that apply to each and every human. Drinking water is better for you than drinking soda for example. Getting exercise is better for you than sitting on the couch playing video games. Healthy relationship with your partner, family or friends is better than abusive relationships.

There are also some truths which I am particularly interested and focused on in relation to the culture of food. Food brings people together. It helps bind communities, build friendships and sustain lives. Whether people are growing food together, cooking or eating together, they are benefiting from their actions. Safe & quality food is going to provide for a better future.

It is my goal, in my 23rd year of life, to get a deeper understanding of my balance so that I can successfully inspire others to live more fulfilled, enjoyable, positive, balanced and happy lives. In turn, I know that each person that I am able to inspire will inspire at least one or two more people.

Let’s go back to some foundations in order to find deeper meaning in the lives that we live and the connections that we make–with other people and nature–along the way.

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Wonder why you are not seeing results from your workout? Here are some insider tips!

When it comes to fitness and nutrition, what works for one person may not work for someone else. While one person may be able to run a half marathon another person- due to injury or body structure- may never be able to run a half marathon. I am not saying that you should sell yourself short or give up on your goals. What I am saying is that you should be able to find some type of workout that you enjoy and that works for your body type.

There is one rule that applies to absolutely everyone. If you are not seeing results, you are not doing the right workout or eating the right diet for you. Some people run, bike, go on the elliptical/ walk on the treadmill for an hour several days a week. It is very likely that they are bored of doing the same workout and that their bodies are also bored of doing the same workout day in and day out. What I would recommend to everyone is workout variety. Try some new things in the gym or outside and rotate them into your workout routine. Runners might need some yoga in their routine. Yogis probably need some strength training in their routine.

In addition to workout variety, you can add in some interval training. With this type of training you should start at your regular pace for a set amount of time and then increase the intensity for the same amount of time. I will use the treadmill as an example. You can start at your regular pace, lets say level 5, for 2 minutes. After the 2 minutes are up you will switch to level 7 for 2 minutes then return back to level 5 and repeat. Some variations to increasing intensity include changing your speed and/or incline. You can get creative with interval training by doing a “pyramid” time challenge. This is how it works:

1 minute baseline, 1 minute challenge

2 minutes baseline, 2 minutes challenge

Continue all the way up to 5 minutes then work back down the pyramid

4 minutes baseline, 4 minutes challenge

3 minutes baseline, 3 minutes challenge

Until you get to 1 minute

Recently, due to an irritated SI Joint in my lower back, I have not be able to run longer distances. I personally feel like a hamster doing 30-40 minutes on the treadmill or the elliptical plus I get really bored.  Another component that was missing is that I was not seeing results. So, what is the point in even working out if I am not enjoying it and not seeing results? Thus, I have turned to rapid cardio/strength circuit workouts. I love these because they have a lot of variety involved. I also love them because I am seeing awesome results and I feel really strong.

Rapid cardio/ strength circuits involve a type of cardio that is called anaerobic exercise. Whereas running running long distances or walking on the treadmill would be considered aerobic exercise. Both of these type of exercises serve their own purpose. I have been finding that short-duration and high intensity exercises, namely anaerobic exercises, are what my body is responding to best at this point in time. Here are some examples of exercises that you can include in your rapid cardio/ strength circuits:

– Rowing machine: 300 meter or 400 meter row

– 1-2 minutes jump roping

– 10-20 burpees

– 30-50 jumping jacks

– Jump- switch lunges

– 30-40 mountain climbers (downward dog position with arms and running motion with legs)

– 20-30 yd. sprints

Those are just a few examples of some anaerobic exercises. I usually choose 3 exercises and rotate through them 4 times. I do the 3 exercises, take a 30 second break then repeat the circuit. By the time you are done, you have done around 20 minutes of intense cardio. You should be sweating and almost out of breath.

I will be posting some specific workouts in the near future. Hang tight! For now, please leave comments if you have any questions!

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What’s In Season?

South Berkeley Farmer's Market

Visiting a local farmers market is the best way to find out what is in season. Second to growing your own food, buying local and seasonal is the most sustainable way to consume food. During the transition from winter to spring people often get sick because they have weaker immune systems. Interestingly enough, it is during this time that nature provides us with citrus fruits which support the immune system through their high levels of Vitamin C. Enough about the transition period, spring is here.. finally! I am not used to having distinct seasons considering that I have lived in Southern California for most of my life. Thus, transitioning from winter to spring has been a beautiful growing experience in Northern California.

Here are some fruits and veggies that I have been scoping out at the local farmers market the past couple of weeks:

What’s In Season?!                                 

Nutrient Content

Health Benefits

Asparagus

Vitamin A, B(s), C, K, folate, iron, fiber

Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, digestive support

Avocados

Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, Vitamins C and E, selenium, zinc, phytosterols and carotenoids

Heart health, anti-inflammatory, eye health, immune support

Oranges

Vitamin A, B1, C, fiber, folate, calcium, potassium

Antioxidant, lower cholesterol, prevents colds

Snap Peas

Vitamin A,B1,C, K, manganese, fiber, folate

Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory

Strawberries

Vitamin C, K, fiber, manganese

50th best antioxidant source of all foods

Oranges

Oranges: Use as a snack, juice, in a salad or marinade

Remember that fruits (some more than others) have much higher sugar contents than vegetables. Push the veggies more while continuing to incorporate fruit in your daily diet.

Snap Peas

Snap Peas Great as a snack- alone or dip in hummus

Harvest of the Month is another great resource to find out what is in season.

http://www.harvestofthemonth.cdph.ca.gov/product-list.asp

Strawberries

Strawberries Use in a salad, as a breakfast topping or dessert topping. Delicious because it contains a high sugar content 😉

Sources:

www.naturalnews.com

World’s Healthiest Foods, www.whfoods.org

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Returning to Fitness

Today was my first day back in the gym after about a 2 week break. The two week break was comprised of a combination of several factors including: work, school, lack of motivation, traveling and getting sick. I woke up today not feeling sick anymore and could NOT wait to get back to the gym. Let’s just say that before I went to the gym I was not being very nice to myself and well, I knew it was time for me to get back in the workout grind. Ended up rock climbing for a little bit then taking my chances on a new spin class.

Sometimes I find it helpful to take a group class when I need a little motivation to push myself or get back in the game. Every bike had a towel on it to reserve spots when I first walked in the class. I decided to hang around in the corner of class to see if maybe someone wouldn’t show up. Within 2 minutes (and not even a word leaving my mouth) there were 3 people in the class helping me find out if all of the reserved bikes were actually taken. Now, at my old gym the bikes were nice and the people were average on the nice scale. At my new gym, the bikes are below average but the people are very high on the nice scale. Needless to say, I found a bike! Nothing like a little bit of patience and/or persistence and/or kindness.

Another interesting aspect of my spinning experience is that there were 2 blind people who took the spin class. It is incredible to see how capable people with disabilities are. Sometimes I think bling people get to enjoy life more with their eyes closed given the judgments that society presents today. There are many times where I feel much more content or relaxed with my eyes closed, especially during times when spin class gets intense. Turning inward and listening to my body, the music and my breath really helps me find comfort in challenging physical situations.

By the time I left the gym I already found that I was being nicer to myself. I was thinking much more positive thoughts.

Did I reach my fitness goals in that single spin class? No. Did I make up for not working out in the past 2 weeks? No. Was I proud of myself that I took the first step in the direction I want to go? YES! Am I motivated to go back for more tomorrow? Well, maybe not another spin class (yet) but, yes you can be sure to find me in the gym switching up my workout tomorrow.

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Tools to Reach Your Nutrition and Fitness Goals

MyFitnessPal is the easiest and most user friendly App to help you achieve your health goals. This app is FREE. It is a great way to keep track of your caloric intake, which will help you achieve your goals. You can download this app via iPhones or android software.

The health equation consists of Mind, Body and Spirit. I am going to touch on two of the most common components that affect your health which are Fitness and Nutrition.

The biggest challenge in my personal health equation is by far the Nutrition component, because I LOVE LOVE LOVE food… And growing up in Western society where food is far from promoted for it’s original purpose (to nourish our bodies) but rather as a hot commodity that we “have to have.”

If there is one thing that comes easy to me in the health equation it is the fitness component. I absolutely love getting a good workout in on a regular basis. None the less, after all my experience with fitness I am here to tell you that I believe the nutrition component is more important than the fitness component. No, I am not saying that the fitness component is not important. I am saying that the nutrition component is MORE important to help you achieve your goals. Why? In order for your body to function efficiently, it needs a a good baseline nutrient intake. If you nourish your body well, you are less likely to be deficient in vitamins and minerals thus your essential body functions can perform more efficiently.

Picture your mouth as a filter. If you let foods (or drinks) pass this filter they are going to have either a positive or negative affect on your body. If you continuously expose your body to negative substances, it will respond with an illness, disease or allergy. If you continuously expose your body to positive substances, your body will respond with a “thank you,” and you will feel good. Unfortunately, due to toxins in our environment, there is no guarantee that living a healthy lifestyle guarantees you a disease free life. However, science and history have proven that you tremendously lower your risk for disease if you do treat your body well. I don’t think that we need to live by the rules for every single bite we take in order to reduce our risk. There is room for a few cheats on your diet, however if you find yourself getting into a habit or continuously exposing yourself to foods that do not contribute to your health then maybe you need to check your filter. Or find tools to help keep you on track.

I have found that My Fitness Planner helped me to get back on track because it provides facts for me to base my food choices on. Another tool I have used over the years to get back on track with nutrition is the old pen and paper Food Log. I simply write down everything that I eat & drink during the day for 5-7 days. This way I hold myself accountable for my choices and I can track any negative or positive patterns. I also write at the end of the day how I felt and what exercise I did.

Try out these tools to see what they can do for you!

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Prevention is the Key.. To a Healthy Life

When it comes to health, Western mentality is to wait until someone has been diagnosed with a disease and then to use a “bandaid” to cover up the problem. Eastern society doesn’t wait until the problem exists, rather they put forth strong efforts to prevent the disease from developing. It is 2012, and we may not have a CURE for cancer yet we do know some of the leading causes of cancer. It is 2012, and we may not have a magic pill to CURE obesity but have an understanding of what causes obesity and diabetes. So why do we wait until we have to FIGHT the cancer or struggle to lose weight? Why is the leading cause of death in the United States, heart disease, a disease that in most cases could have been prevented. Or why is the leading type of cancer, lung cancer, a preventable disease?

Instead of waiting to find a cure we should be making efforts to prevent disease. Spreading knowledge about what foods are good for you and what foods are not. Supporting each other in healthy decision making instead of egging each other on with unhealthy options is one place to start. Every choice that you make counts because you have the ability to improve your health and serve as a role model for others. Next time you meet up with a friend, ask them if they want to cook dinner together or go for a hike or walk. Supporting each other to make healthy decisions makes it easier and more enjoyable for both parties. Why wait for a cure when you can take steps to prevent getting a life threatening disease in the first place.

 

 

 

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